I was discussing some matters with a potential MSc thesis advisor. However, when I pointed out a mistake they had made, they kept on stubbornly denying it and just dismissed my claims. This annoyed me as I had spent a lot of time verifying that it was in fact a mistake and building up strong evidence, and this professor didn't even seem to make an effort to listen to my arguments. In the end I had to give up because I was not making any progress.

In your opinion, should I still consider this person as an advisor? The thesis will take up 2 semesters of work. I fear that if my advisor is not able to admit their own mistakes, this could seriously compromise my work. Should I interpret this episode as a red flag that tells me not to work with this person? Or is it possible that as time goes on they would start trusting me better and consequently be more willing to accept my remarks? Keep in mind that aside from what I just said, this person seemed the ideal advisor for me right now.

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    After the interaction you describe, I'd be surprised if they still agreed to advise you. Look elsewhere.
    – JeffE
    Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 21:29
  • @JeffE Not really, in fact, I talked with them about a potential thesis before and after this episode and they even seemed enthusiastic about it. I don't know what to think at this point. Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 21:33
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    It's quite possible you're correct and they are indeed in the wrong and trying to cover their mistake. Other possibilities: you raised an issue in a completely inappropriate way and wouldn't stop pushing it; you are wrong, there is no mistake; the 'mistake' you are identifying is an obvious simplification instead. It seems like you haven't considered these other possibilities, so for now based just on this question you do not sound like a student I would want to work with. I agree with JeffE that this sounds like a poor fit.
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 21:44
  • @BryanKrause I don't know, I spent a long time thinking about this issue and trying to convince myself there was no mistake (because of course the first thing I think is that I am in the wrong), but I could not stop seeing it, so I asked for an appointment with this person to discuss it. I hardly see how this would be inappropriate. And of course I might still be wrong (I wish I was at this point), but in my mind that doesn't justify their behavior in dismissing my claims rightaway after I put so much work into it. Well, I guess I'll take that your advice is to go and look for someone else. Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 21:58
  • Unless this is a critical clinical result or something, it sounds like just mind games on your part. Perhaps your real concern here is not being treated with sufficient respect for your efforts? That's grad school culture. The professor's time is a precious commodity and yours is worthless. That is not so much a "red flag" character flaw on their part, though might be a clue to your own need for an adviser that treats you more like an equal. Commented Jun 3, 2018 at 5:29

1 Answer 1


You might want to talk with people who worked with the person and try to understand if he tends to overlook remarks from others or situation spesific reasons led to this particular problem for you. You can not jujge someone with only one behaviour but I think you can not ignore it eather. I would say just try to learn more about the person.

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